Peru court orders release of opposition leader Keiko Fujimori

Lima (AFP) –


Peru's Constitutional Court on Monday ordered the release of opposition leader Keiko Fujimori, after more than a year of pre-trial detention.

Fujimori, 44, has been held since October last year pending her trial in a corruption case linked to Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.

"The court has agreed to accept habeas corpus," the president of the court Ernesto Blume said, announcing a ruling that cannot be appealed.

The legal phrase "habeas corpus" refers to the right of a prisoner to be brought before a court or released.

Blume made clear that the Constitutional Court ruling had no bearing on the corruption case against her.

The eldest daughter of disgraced former president Alberto Fujimori, Keiko Fujimori is accused of accepting $1.2 million in illicit party funding from Odebrecht for her 2011 presidential campaign.

Once Peru's most popular politician, Monday's decision theoretically gives her time to campaign for presidential elections slated for July 2021.

"Justice has been done, a divine justice. God is great!" said her husband, US citizen Mark Vito, who had begun a hunger strike outside his wife's prison on the outskirts of Lima to press for her release

Following a previous appeal, the Supreme Court had halved the detention period, earmarking her release for next April.

Prosecutors have accused a total of 11 people linked to Fujimori's party of running a criminal organization to raise money for her 2011 campaign.

Odebrecht has admitted paying at least $29 million in bribes to Peruvian officials since 2004.

Three former presidents are being investigated over Odebrecht while a fourth, Alan Garcia, committed suicide in April after police arrived at his house to arrest him for money laundering.